Zab Judah was a better actor than fighter on the night of April 8 when he played the role of the heroic victim after being soundly beaten by Floyd Mayweather. His performance was so good I found myself feeling bad for the guy. Not only did he get battered and outclassed, but then he was choked almost unconscious by a maniacal Roger Mayweather while a security guard held him defenseless during the 10th round melee. The brutal low blow and rabbit punch that led to the ruckus were both accidental according to Judah, who said, “I’ve never been a dirty fighter and would be stupid to mess up such a great night.”
Despite losing decisively and seemingly content to just survive at times, Judah’s supposed weak chin stood up for twelve rounds against pound-for-pound’s best. Of course, a nice break from Floyd’s leather may have been the only reason he made it to the bell, and his “unintentional” fouls that stalled Pretty Boy’s attack may have been his desperate attempt to finish the fight standing up. Not to mention the fact that Mayweather damaged his fragile right hand during the middle rounds after he began zoning in on Judah’s head.
I left the Thomas & Mack Arena thinking Judah was valiant in defeat, showing significant skills and a great deal of heart, even boosting his standing in the sport. Poor Judah, seemingly the victim in all the chaos that unfolded during that fateful 10th round, deserved a pat-on-the-back for controlling his temper and not repeating another one of his stool-tossing outbursts. Talking to me one-on-one about the scuffle, Judah said, “I didn’t hit anybody, how could I do that if my hands were being held behind my back.”
That argument sounded perfectly accurate until I saw the replay of what happened. After watching the whole debacle unfold again, there’s no question that Judah is guilty of lying to us all. Regardless of whether he purposely nailed Floyd in his family jewels and then followed it up with a vicious chop to the back of his head that could’ve caused serious damage, Zab Judah tried to trick us all into believing that he was a martyr rather than a villain. Was he hoping that we’d just forget about the fight and never look at the photos or the HBO replay?
In fact, the only one who conducted himself like a true professional was Floyd Mayweather. Yes, at one point during a round he stuck his tongue out toward Yoel and the rest of Judah’s corner to signify his dominance and rub salt in their wounds, but he never landed any fouls against his opponent and waited quietly in his corner throughout the entire melee.
Judah did get held by a security guard and was choked on the ropes by Roger Mayweather, BUT beforehand, he let his hands go, landing a shot to Roger’s neck and a left hook to the head of Mayweather’s conditioning coach, Leonard Ellerby. This footage clearly exposes his self-serving argument and destroys any integrity he once had. It’s so disheartening to see a talented fighter who should be a role model to all those kids looking to escape the streets of his native Brooklyn act as if he were still in the streets.
Without sportsmanship and the honoring of the rules instilled by the Marquis of Queensbury, our sport would simply dissolve into a barbaric display of aggression, and thus, the sweet science would be no more.
For this reason, the Nevada Athletic Commission has rightfully withheld Judah’s purse until an undisclosed hearing is scheduled to discuss what penalty befits the crime. Judah is mystified as to how this could happen, arguing that Roger Mayweather started the incident and that referee Richard Steele should’ve disqualified his fighter for entering the ring before the 10th round ended. The facts are that Steele had the right to let the match continue and there’s no excuse for joining in the “street fight” and then deciding to cry foul.
When asked by HBO commentator Larry Merchant as to whether or not he felt redeemed by this performance after a disappointing effort against Baldomir, Judah said, “I think so. People who know me know that I can fight, this is what I do best.”
There’s no doubt that Zab Judah can fight, he’ll likely be champion again sometime, but on the night of April 8 he was saved by the impulsive stupidity of the mindless Roger Mayweather. As Merchant went on to say, “This fight went from murder to manslaughter. Judah really tried hard, but his best isn’t even in the same league as Floyd Mayweather, Jr.”
It wasn’t Judah’s boxing skills though that failed him in the ring. According to Floyd, Judah kept reminding him during the fight, “We come from the same place” and “I’m from the same tree you’re from.”
Clearly, they’re not from the same tree as Judah once again tarnished his already tainted image and landed another damaging “low blow” to professional boxing by forgetting the very principles that have put in place to protect the integrity of our sport.
“I just want to be a gentleman,” Mayweather said in closing. “Remember Joe Louis, ever courteous.” Where have all the gentlemen gone?